How to Handle a Q & A Session

How to Handle a Q & A Session

A Q&A session should be the last segment of every presentation you make, as it’s a time when doubts can be clarified and issues further explored. It’s also a great opportunity to interact with your public and learn more about their concerns, questions and interests. So, if you’ve mastered the subject you’re presenting and you feel confident, you should always save some minutes for audience questions at the end of the presentation.


Here are some tips on handling a Q & A session:


1. Announce the session: If you’re sure that there will be time for a Q & A at the end of a presentation, tell your audience early on. This way you avoid interruptions; you can even encourage the audience to make note of their questions as you go along, so you can answer them in the end.


2. Repeat the questions: When you’re presenting in large auditoriums, there should be a microphone available for the audience. If there isn’t, repeat each question into your own microphone before answering. Everybody in the room needs  to know what question is being answered.


3. Be brief: Make sure you stick to what is asked and give concise answers, especially if a lot of people are waiting their turn. Also, if you take too long in answering a question, you may annoy the audience and compromise the good impression you made throughout the presentation.



1. Be a mediator: In addition to answering audience questions, be a mediator too. If somebody insists on a point, repeats a question or starts to ramble off-topic, explain that you’ll be happy to address that particular question via email.


2. Relax in the face of hard questions: If you don’t understand a question, ask for a rephrasing. If you don’t know the answer (and this can happen), admit it. (Being honest can only help you with an audience.) Once you’ve said you’re not able to answer well at that moment, tell the questioner that you’ll do some research on the topic and get back to the entire audience on it – by email, for example. (Then again, if you think there’s an audience member qualified to answer that particular question, throw it to that person.)


3. End on time: If a lot of people have questions and you’re running out of time, announce a few minutes beforehand that you can take only one or two more questions. (And you should try to close the session with an answer that strengthens your main message.)


So for your next presentation, make sure you save some time for a Q&A, and use these tips. You’re audience will appreciate it.

The best way to persuade somebody


To get somebody to do what you want without realizing your intention, is an art.  Even better is when people think they’re doing your thing because they want to.


In most cases, the goal of a Presentation is to convince one person (or many) to pursue  an idea, a goal, a cause, a project —  even an investment in a new company.


How is this presenting done? Traditionally: with numbers, studies, charts and various types of surveys.


After all, to make a good decision you need to be surrounded by all the information you can get, right? Wrong! …  Well, maybe right, but only half-right!


If it were true that information enables accomplishment, everybody would be eating more fruits and vegetables, exercising every day, avoiding fried foods, sugar, salt, and smoking … everybody would be avoiding all that is bad for the sake of a healthier life.


But exercising every day, as some kind of duty, is just plain boring.


Yet, I could easily play tennis from Monday to Monday. Many children hate pumpkins but happily eat pumpkin pie.


So in a nutshell, by making something look like fun, it can become very attractive.


To make a Presentation “fun”, and to get people do things they maybe don’t really want to do or maybe never thought to do before, you need to give your audience a bit of fun, a little entertainment. If it works in your day-to-day life, why wouldn’t it work the same way in your Presentation?


A good example of how to do this is discussed at  The Fun Theory site, where you’ll find this philosophy: “Something as simple as fun is the easiest way to change people’s behavior for the better. Be it for yourself, for the environment, or for something entirely different, the only thing that matters is that it’s change for the better.”



And check out this video for a nice example of The Fun Theory applied in a day-by-day context:



Now wouldn’t you like to spice up your own presentations with a bit of entertainment?